Poems From The Portuguese
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Rui Costa

(B. 1972)

The world is suspended (kept in play) and enlarged through keeping a certain balance on the oscillating rope between vital points: ‘small god/ tumbling down from the sky of dexterous and rigorous/ thinking’. In Rui Costa’s poetry there is a strength which seeks other-worldly incorruptibility, and a violence that despairs of attaining it, being already on the outside, and there, finding itself alone.

Rui Costa was born in Porto and died in January 2012 in the same city. He studied law at the University of Coimbra and worked as a lawyer for six years, both in Lisbon and London. He then did an MA in Public Health at Leeds University and was working towards a PhD in the same area at the time of his death.

Poetry books since 2000:

A Nuvem Prateada das Pessoas Graves (2005), O Pequeno-almoço de Carla Bruni (2009), Breve Ensaio sobre a Potência (2012), Mike Tyson para Principiantes unpublished (2012)



24 Setembro, 2018By bitcliq

These are the tourists and they come from Greece
to look at me.
They don’t know I’ve been extinct
for a million years
and that I’ve set off on the point
of a star lost into the future
and twinkling in our own image.
See the tourists, with their wheels on fire,
how boldly they land
and halt in the face of the stones
of this city rotting by the river
ignorant of another way to love.

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in Brief essay on power

To be an adult is almost impossible in this callow
world. You believe more in a Microsoft
file than in your grand-mother’s psalmodies.
The new god of the world will be a musically-gifted
adolescent with a hairstyle that emulates
the heroes of manga comics. Light hastens
to arrive before it gets old.

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I love the people who live in my building.
It’s a tall building with lifts. It’s better that way, no one
has to carry anyone on their backs. What I mean is they
could also walk up on their own two feet, but that would be the case only if
in my building there weren’t people in need of favours. But there are,
and afterwards they turn their backs on repaying the climb – I heard
there are people in the building who have forests from Normandy at home (I
only have weeds!). And the building’s lifts break down constantly.
They break down and then the people on the upper floors
need carriers. The people on lower floors
have started to be born with broader shoulders
so their carrying improves, and now the lifts
are almost always broken. I’m lucky because they know
I only keep weeds at home. They never ask me
to carry anything nor do they park new trees
to bar my doorway; they are all scared of being contaminated.
Nowadays, the people on the upper floors beg favours
of me: could I possibly move house, building, they would even
give me a house with a Normandy forest inside.
But I don’t want to. I like it here. My weeds
now reach the first floor. Sometimes I climb up them
and am invited to dinner. We talk and laugh and when
we stop the silence around us grows.
Until now my weeds have stayed fresh, they climb on their own.

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There are people who love
laying all their hands on the table.
They warm up bread with the sweat of their brow
and when we lose them they are always
with us.
For the moment they are not touching us:
the moon finds the whitewashed bread we eat
while the laughter of promises is distilled
in the loneliness of the grass.
These people are the ground
from which we gather the sun that missed our fingers
leaving a dark fruit in place of the heart.
These people are the grounding
that does not need to fly.

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there’s no need to tell, you know me
I lack a sure course, I find amusement on the treetops
blowing thoughts into the world under the spell of night.
people are other as they wake, you knew that already,
this contemporary misting of niggly fear
we mislay in cities and bodies, you joined
the game ahead of me, the music’s sulphur and the
bewitchment of the lake, brief innocent man who dreams
as well you know.

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